President Trump’s relationship with Senate Republicans is deteriorating by the day.
Senate Republicans are getting fed up with what they see as Trump’s lack of discipline and chaotic leadership style. Several are criticizing him more openly than ever before.
The sharpest critique came from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who told constituents in Chattanooga that Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful.”
GOP strategists say Corker was likely unhappy with Trump’s improvised line a week and a half ago about how threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Trump’s comment was one of the latest examples of an unscripted moment undermining his administration’s or his party’s more carefully crafted strategy.“I suspect the fire and fury business got Corker’s attention because that came out of nowhere,” said Rich Galen, a Republican strategist, who called Corker “a truly decent man” who has “just had enough.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) on Friday criticized Trump for not unequivocally condemning the white supremacists who clashed with liberal protesters in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.
“Any time he steps up and tries to equate two groups or two conversations, I think that muddies the water,” Lankford said of Trump. “I just think you need to be very, very clear with the statements and how they’re made.”
Meanwhile, senators have rallied behind Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of Trump’s most outspoken critics, after the president tweeted Thursday morning that he was glad to see that conservative candidate Kelli Ward is running against him in the GOP primary. Trump called Flake “toxic.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fired back.
“Jeff Flake is an excellent Senator and a tireless advocate for Arizona and our nation. He has my full support,” McConnell tweeted through his campaign account.
It was a clear admonishment of the president, coming a week after Trump torched the Senate leader on Twitter for not passing ObamaCare repeal legislation in July.
While McConnell carefully avoided confrontations with Trump during the presidential campaign, their relationship has frayed in recent weeks.
McConnell allies have criticized Trump for at times undermining the GOP’s messaging strategy during the healthcare debate, and last week McConnell told constituents that the president had “excessive expectations” about how fast things can get done in Congress.
McConnell also this week came out with a forceful statement condemning white-power groups in Charlottesville, which media outlets quickly seized on as a counterpoint to Trump’s response
From The Hill